- Report Published -
|Economic and Employment Improvement Program for Disadvantaged Persons|
|Department of Social Services|
|§ 63.1-133.58 (B.)|
|The Economic and Employment Improvement Program for Disadvantaged Persons (program) was established by Senate Bill 699, as passed by the 1998 General Assembly, to improve the employability of disadvantaged persons through education and training.|
Senate Bill 628, as passed by the 2000 General Assembly, amended the program. Senate Bill 628 transferred the administrative responsibility for the program from the Governor's Employment and Training Department to the Department of Social Services (Department). Senate Bill 628 changed the statutory provisions of the program to extend educational and job training services to the following individuals:
• those who are eligible to participate in vocational education and job skills training programs under federal and state welfare reform laws;
• those who are ineligible to continue to receive assistance under federal and state welfare reform laws; and,
• those who are returning to the community from federal and state correctional facilities.
Educational and job skills programs under this initiative are required to be designed to assist eligible participants in moving from minimum wage jobs to college and to employment and occupations that will facilitate career development and economic independence. The Grant Awards Committee (Committee) was expanded to include federal and state welfare reform laws and individuals with expertise in the delivery of adult literacy programs, job skills training and apprenticeships. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds were designated to fund the program, and TANF eligibility restrictions were added to the program.
The TANF eligibility restrictions require the program to concentrate on one, or more, of the four goals of TANF. The Department chose the TANF goal "to end dependence of needy parents by promoting job preparation, work and marriage." Participants in the program must earn below 200 percent of the current federal poverty level and must be either a custodial or non-custodial parent.
The Department established the Committee as required by § 63.1-133.58 (A) of the Code of Virginia. The Committee includes representation from the following entities:
• State Board for Community Colleges;
• Department of Education;
• Virginia Employment Commission;
• Department of Labor and Industry;
• Department of Social Services;
• a local social services department;
• Department of Corrections;
• a local workforce investment board member designated by the Commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission; and,
• a representative of four-year institutions of higher education whose service areas and student populations are comprised of disproportionately high percentages of disadvantaged persons, designated by the Chairman of the State Council of Higher Education.
The Department awarded grants on March 15, 2001. As required by § 63.1-133.58 (C) of the Code of Virginia, priority for the grant awards was given to projects designed to serve persons who are:
• historically underrepresented in Virginia institutions of higher education and in management and at administrative levels in the business community;
• residing in counties, cities, and towns with high local stress indicators and in economically depressed regions of the Commonwealth;
• disproportionately represented in the workforce in minimum wage jobs and occupations requiring minimum education, training, and skills;
• ineligible to continue to receive welfare assistance under federal and state welfare reform laws;
• eligible to participate in the programs included in the From Welfare to Work: The Virginia Independence Program and especially those eligible to participate in job skills training programs;
• returning to the community from federal and state correctional institutions;
• chronically unemployed or hard-to-employ;
• displaced by technological advances in industry; or,
• subject to any combination of the above.
The following are the active program grantees:
• Capital Area Workforce Investment Board located in Henrico County;
• Culpeper County Department of Social Services;
• Office of Human Affairs located in Newport News;
• Greater Peninsula Workforce Development Consortium located in Norfolk;
• Fifth District Employment and Training Consortium located in Roanoke;
• Danville Community College; and,
• Pittsylvania County Community Action, Inc. located in Chatham.